Design Thinking for Marketers: Remember Your Customers

It’s easy in marketing to talk about what we have to offer or what we do as a brand. That’s what we do on a daily basis – view our business from that lens. To prevent ourselves from defaulting into only that viewpoint with our marketing, it helps to be familiar with design thinking principles.

Design thinking marketers put themselves into the shoes of the end-user. This process is about offering something that speaks to customers and solves their true problems, not the perceived problem. Below are three considerations to help you stay focused on customers when developing your marketing messages.


Pain Points:

Remembering your customer means knowing their pain points or problems. For example, is it about saving money or saving time? Don’t make assumptions based on your perspective. These are two different issues that need the right messaging. In addition to connecting with your target audience, it helps to look for the pain points of your competitor’s customers. What do they talk about on social media? What kind of reviews do they leave on forums? This is another way to learn about pain points.


Empathy, Not Demographics:

You probably have your personas developed. Mary, a 55-year mother of two college students, works as a VP for a technology company. There is value in that because it does humanize your customers. However, I encourage you to go a step further in your personas and consider empathy, which is about understanding the emotions – both positive and negative – of another person. In this scenario, you want to walk in Mary’s shoes to understand her experience with the goal of then providing what she needs or wants. But it’s also possible that 35-year old Joe also has the same pain points. By considering both Mary and Joe, we move away from stereotyping our audiences. This is especially important for products and services that are not gender or age focused. When you empathize with the problems customers need to solve and not just their demographic make-up, you begin to understand the commonalities in challenges with solving a problem.


Consider Your Team:

Marketers think like marketers. We know about messaging, tools, channels, and campaigns which is why we are in our roles. But this expertise can turn our teams into homogeneous groups that think the same way and come up with the same solutions. When embarking on a new campaign, consider people outside your team who are close to your audience, such as customer support. They can tell you the exact words customers use and the pain points they hear most often. Since they have different experiences and skills, they can bring in some new ideas. Getting out of your silos keeps you aligned with overall business objectives. What about your long-term customers? They are your biggest champions and may love to have a role in selling what you offer. Why not widen your team to occasionally include their perspectives?

Although our intention is to serve our customers, it’s too easy work from the default of our viewpoints because that’s what we know best. By considering the pain points customers verbalize, empathizing with their struggles, and inviting people outside the marketing department to help out occasionally, we’ll always remember our customers.

Check out part 1 and part 3 of the Design Thinking for Marketers blog series!

Design Thinking for Marketers:
The Value of Iteration

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Tina Arnoldi
Tina Arnoldi